Horse displays extremely inconsistent behavior?

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Horse displays extremely inconsistent behavior?

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    10-22-2013, 11:08 PM
Question Horse displays extremely inconsistent behavior?

I have a 10 year old Arabian gelding who has extremely inconsistent behavior. I'll ride him one day and he's great, on a loose rein, relaxed, does everything I ask of him. Then the next day he is all crazy, trying to run off, not paying any attention, sometimes bucking, running through my aids ect. Then the day after that he'll be right back to being perfect again... This describes how this last week went, but he might be fine for a whole week and then crazy, or for a couple days or whatever, it's all of the place. Same thing when he is being brought into the barn some days (within the same week) he is calm and just great, and other days he goes nuts and has to be backed all the way to the barn. Here is his back history in case it makes a difference: After he was weaned he lived more or less in the same paddock with the same horse for the next five or six years (during this time he received halter training for 3 months at some point) towards the end of this time he was starved, then transported a couple of states away and was separated from his lifelong pasture mate. This is about the time I got him, he was 6, a standing skeleton, with the most severe herd bound behavior I have ever seen, he did not understand how to lead properly and had never been started under saddle. I have rehabilitated and trained him, but this inconsistent, erratic behavior still remains. So any ideas? Could it be blood lines? Or triggers that make him remember past unpleasant experiences? I'd love to hear peoples ideas on this.
His saddle fits him really well, I got a new one a few months ago that is an awesome fit because my old one didn't fit horribly, but it was just a little tight, (I could still get my hand in there but it was quite snug) this one fits him much better and he's happier in it. The bit could be an issue, but if it was why would he be fine some days and not others? He also had a benign bone tumor a little smaller than a ping pong ball on the lower left side of his jaw (in the middle part where an english cavesson would go) I got it removed 2 or 3 years ago after having it x-rayed, the vets did not indicate that it would cause an problems except for possibly growing back (which it didn't) but perhaps it caused some amount of nerve damage that only causes discomfort irregularly? He has been thoroughly checked by a vet more than once (aside from like x-raying his whole body.....which isn't too feasible) and nothing has ever been found.
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    10-23-2013, 12:40 AM
Have you done ground work with him to gain his trust and respect? I don't have to do much ground work with my mare who is 11 now, I've had her for 8yrs. And I did ground work with her in the round pen to gain my confidence (after being away from horses for so long), gain her trust and me to trust her.......every once in a while now I have to give her a little reminder with lungeing for respect in the round pen and get her paying attention to me.....
jannette and KnightOfFame like this.
    10-23-2013, 12:47 AM
Sometimes, and it's just a guess, when horses are inconsistent like that, great one day or several days, then out of the blue, they are all evading, snorty, etc., it could be something physical bothering them. Like a lameness you haven't noticed, ulcers, just something that isn't really noticeable until a vet points it out. Just a thought as I seen it happen.
loosie, 2BigReds and KnightOfFame like this.
    10-23-2013, 12:52 AM
Yes I have my first 2 1/2 years were pretty much ground work alone (and getting him used to a saddle, but not rider) when I acquired him he did not even understand the concept of leading properly, so there was a lot to teach him. Currently it does not seem to matter if I do ground work before or not, some days I don't do ground work and he's great, then there are the days when I do do ground work and he's a freak. I've been exhausting everything I can think of and I can't help but feel like he almost has some sort of equine form of ptsd or something.
    10-23-2013, 12:54 AM
Ulcers are a possibility as he does pace and make himself stressed out a decent amount, he's very high energy gets upset when the other horses are coming and going, however until now I did not realize they might cause inconsistent behavior, I thought it would make him grumpy/crazy all the time.
    10-23-2013, 01:37 AM
Sometimes I think horses have mental problems, just like people do.

I once knew a horse like you describe. His name was Buck. He was a different horse every single day. He was completely unpredictable to the point of being unsafe. You could be riding along and he would spook at nothing, he would rear, buck, spin etc. One day we were cantering and for no reason at all he spun around. My friend was riding behind us and got thrown as her horse was trying to avoid him.

His fits were random. My trainer took him to a horse show and he reared all the way up with her. He did the airs above the ground with me several times in a row as well.

It was like a switch flips in his head. Fine one moment, and all 4 feet off the ground the next.

After about 3 or 4 months of that I sent him back home (he was a free lease). Last I heard he belongs to an exercise rider for the track.

I used to work for an arabian farm, and some of those horses were just plain crazy... I blame it on the breeders for not looking at temperament. The prettiest horses in the world, but you couldn't pay me to ride half of them. The most stunning horse on the property was the most insane horse I have ever met.... The trainer sent her back, her owner only rode her once for 5 minutes and jumped off. I worked her every day and she never got better. Was holding my breath and praying I didn't get hurt every time I got near her.

That horse would freak out and take out anyone in it's path. It would spook at the same object it had passed every day of it's life... There was something wrong in that horse's head.
    10-23-2013, 01:38 AM
Ulcers are the only other thing I can think of that causes extreme behavioral changes. Or pain of some sort. If it is not that, it could be mental.
jannette and KnightOfFame like this.
    10-23-2013, 02:29 AM
Yep I'm with others that it's something physical.... or mental! I've met & retrained many horses who's owners said they were erratic like that, but I've generally found that there was some 'hole' in their training and they were actually on edge always, but then the smallest - often unrecognised - triggers would 'set them off'. Think of 'the straw that broke the camel'.

There has been a one instance where nothing appeared amiss trainingwise but a trip to the chiro changed it. Diet/nutrition is also important and the more I learn about magnesium for eg, the more horses I've put on it, for a variety of reasons & behaviour has generally changed for the better too.
    10-23-2013, 11:07 PM
I'm going to try and take a video of him moving tomorrow or the next day and post it, because the last couple of time I've worked him (the weird behavior has always been around but has gotten worse again the last couple of weeks) there seems to be something not quite right about how he is moving, so subtle that I doubt anyone not familiar with him would even notice, but it won't hurt to have you guys look, I'm also having my riding instructor look at him tomorrow. Thank you guys for all the input, it's giving me more ideas to pursue
    10-23-2013, 11:15 PM
Ooh! (sorry my brain keeps on coming up with more stuff lol) in regards to the ulcers, is it safe to put a horse on ulcer medication if it has not been diagnosed with an ulcer? Or should I avoid doing that? My local vet does not have the equipment to check for sure, and the other vets that come her won't be here till February, and I'm not sure if they have the capability to check for ulcers or not. So would it be advisable to give/not give ulcer meds without knowing for sure?

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